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11 replies Latest Post - ‏2012-11-16T16:10:26Z by SystemAdmin
jcanas
jcanas
12 Posts
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Pinned topic VMware+GPFS server

‏2012-11-12T08:14:19Z |
Is there any plan to support GPFS server running as VMware virtual machine?.
This is something that seems to be strategic for the product, isn´t it?.
Updated on 2012-11-16T16:10:26Z at 2012-11-16T16:10:26Z by SystemAdmin
  • SystemAdmin
    SystemAdmin
    2092 Posts
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    Re: VMware+GPFS server?

    ‏2012-11-12T14:47:18Z  in response to jcanas
    1. Is there a problem running GPFS under VMware? Please let us know, what?

    2. Flipping the problem around, notice that in GPFS 3.5, we have mmclone & co. which were specifically added with VMware and similar VM software in mind - to support the large image files typically used by the VM hypervisor to represent the state of a VM.
    • gcorneau
      gcorneau
      148 Posts
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      Re: VMware+GPFS server?

      ‏2012-11-12T17:35:32Z  in response to SystemAdmin
      Marc,

      I'd bet the OP is referring to running GPFS inside the virtual machine (not in the hosting environment) and the
      documented restrictions there:

      http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/clresctr/vxrx/topic/com.ibm.cluster.gpfs.doc/gpfs_faqs/gpfsclustersfaq.html#virtual

      "When running GPFS on a guest OS, the guest must be an OS version that is supported by GPFS and run as an NSD client."

      "GPFS has been tested with VMware ESX 4.1 for NSD clients only and is supported on all Linux distros that are supported by both VMware and GPFS."


      Glen Corneau
      IBM Power Systems Advanced Technical Skills
      • SystemAdmin
        SystemAdmin
        2092 Posts
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        Re: VMware+GPFS server?

        ‏2012-11-12T17:44:13Z  in response to gcorneau
        Well, I'm running something of a new product that leverages GPFS NSD servers as virtual machines, so the concept works. However, unless you have a special blockio driver interface between the storage targets and your virtual machine(s), you might lose close to 30% IO performance.

        Supported, I sure hope so, or there will be many unhappy people in the office.

        I'm not sure about VMWare virtual machines as NSD servers though. I don't see a huge benefit of using virtual machines as NSD servers unless power/cooling/rackspace is at a premium, or you have many NSD servers...
        • Tucks
          Tucks
          78 Posts
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          Re: VMware+GPFS server?

          ‏2012-11-13T14:17:52Z  in response to SystemAdmin
          NSDs under VMWare work fine for dev purposes here.

          See: http://www.databasejournal.com/features/oracle/article.php/3686461/Oracle-RAC-How-shared-storage-works-on-VMware-150-Part-1.htm for vmware useful settings.
        • gcorneau
          gcorneau
          148 Posts
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          Re: VMware+GPFS server?

          ‏2012-11-13T15:13:10Z  in response to SystemAdmin
          A somewhat related point:

          We can have GPFS NSD servers in Power-based Logical Partitions without a performance penalty using virtualized I/O (vSCSI or NPIV) and are completely supported.

          Only mention this because not all virtualized environments have this penalty or support limits. :)

          And for Power, it's often non-optimal to use an entire machine (that has additional capability) for just a single GPFS NSD server.


          Glen Corneau
          IBM Power Systems Advanced Technical Skills
  • jcanas
    jcanas
    12 Posts
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    Re: VMware+GPFS server

    ‏2012-11-14T12:39:25Z  in response to jcanas
    So, let me go back to my question.
    Provided that NSDs servers work as VMware guests, regardless of performance penalty, are there any plans to support it officially?.
    The reason is, customer is not happy with devoting a (non virtualized) whole physical server to a NSD server.
    • SystemAdmin
      SystemAdmin
      2092 Posts
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      Re: VMware+GPFS server

      ‏2012-11-14T15:17:31Z  in response to jcanas
      I look at it the other-way-around: GPFS WILL WORK, if the VMWare implementation is an accurate emulation!

      So it's a matter of VMware support - not GPFS support.

      Because IBM does "play fair and play nice" it will not deliberately "cripple" VMware but
      all-other-things-equal IBM has no reason to make special efforts or include special code to support VMware.

      IBM can sell you an IBM only solution, or you can go with a mix of IBM hardware + Linux with a hypervisor like KVM + IBM software like DB2 ...

      Fact: last I looked VMware is part of EMC ... And EMC is (one of) IBM's biggest competitors in the storage market...

      Disclaimer:The preceding are my own personal opinions and impressions, based on commonly available information and in ignorance of any specific IBM marketing strategies or programs.
      • jcanas
        jcanas
        12 Posts
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        Re: VMware+GPFS server

        ‏2012-11-16T09:48:36Z  in response to SystemAdmin
        The small problem with this is that "competitor" VMWare has 95% market share in x86 virtualization arena, and by end of 2013 85% of x86 servers will be virtualized.
        Another small problem is that KVM in not supported either.
        We can continue looking another side of where market (customers) go, but I am confident that fortunatelly this is not the regular IBM behaviour.
        • SystemAdmin
          SystemAdmin
          2092 Posts
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          Re: VMware+GPFS server

          ‏2012-11-16T16:10:26Z  in response to jcanas
          IBM is generally pragmatic. If IBM can't sell you the whole solution, IBM generally will play ball and sell you the products and services you do like.

          There are situations where customers have a mix of IBM, EMC and Oracle and who-knows-what-all.
          Of course, support can be problematic. We've all heard stories ...

          Contact your IBM sales, marketing or service guys and gals, as suggested above.
    • gcorneau
      gcorneau
      148 Posts
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      Re: VMware+GPFS server

      ‏2012-11-14T15:37:07Z  in response to jcanas
      Unfortunately this venue is not for answering questions about future plans.
      You'll have to work with your local IBM contacts.


      Glen Corneau
      IBM Power Systems Advanced Technical Skills
  • SystemAdmin
    SystemAdmin
    2092 Posts
    ACCEPTED ANSWER

    Re: VMware+GPFS server

    ‏2012-11-16T11:14:39Z  in response to jcanas
    We have a mixed virtual / physical environment here.

    Two physical "storage managers" - IBM x3650s - drive the underlying NSDs over fibre channel. Four physical VMware host hypervisors sit on top of that and mount their storage via the native GPFS cNFS implementation (over 4 way channel-bonded 10GbE).

    A further six CentOS virtual machines (images stored on the NFS datastores) are members of the GPFS cluster (four of which serve out a secondary cNFS failure group to our research dept.), plus we have a Windows 2008 R2 VM running GPFS in the cluster which exports some of the FS via CIFS for administrators who use Windows.

    VMware supports NFS. IBM support GPFS on RedHat x86 (although it's CentOS in our case), so we couldn't see a problem in getting anyone to support our set-up, even though some of the GPFS cluster is virtualised. Additionally, the GPFS cNFS failover happens completely transparently which is a nice touch - we can take one of the IBM boxes out of service and the VMware stack is none-the-wiser.

    However, because VMware doesn't do proper 802.3ad / 802.1ax Link Aggregation, we can't get maximum GPFS performance from a VM - it will only utilise a single 10GbE link, but we routinely run VMs at ~940MB/s throughput on to the GPFS storage which is plenty fast enough for our purpose.